Trees add to the quality of life through shading our homes, slowing the wind, adding beauty, and beautiful spring and fall color in addition to improving our environment by reducing erosion and providing the oxygen we breathe. Though we are naturally a prairie climate, we can greatly improve the quality of our communities by planting and caring for our trees.
Tours of the tree plantings on our grounds are available upon request for groups of 5 or more.
On Our Grounds
We have close to 300 trees on display in the
Sedgwick County Extension Arboretum on the
grounds of the Sedgwick County Education
Center at 7001 W 21st N in Wichita. We have
collections of various oaks, elms, redbuds,
conifers and more. Drop by and walk the
grounds. All trees are labeled. We focus on
plants and trees adapted to Zone 6B (hardy to
-5 degrees F), tolerant of alkaline soils, wind
tolerant, and adapted to limited supplemental
irrigation or natural rainfall.
Should I water my trees? How much?
The first three years of establishment is the most critical time for watering trees. Trees grow best if the rootball and surrounding area remains moist but not soggy. During the first year water weekly to saturate the rootball and surrounding area to a depth of 10-12". Our Extension Master Gardeners put Gator bags around newly planted trees and fill them with 14 gallons of water each week as well as fill the water ring with water. A long screwdriver or piece of rebar should easily go into the soil to the full moistened depth. Water again each week if adequate rainfall is not occurring. During the next two years, soak the rootball and surrounding area every two weeks during drought periods. Continuously saturated wet soils can also be deadly to trees. Let the soil dry out between waterings.
Provide supplemental water to established trees every two weeks during drought periods by soaking the entire root zone (this often goes out to twice the branch spread) to a depth of 10-12". Water slowly by setting a sprinkler in the root zone or set out a soaker hose or a hose with water trickling out the size of a pencil. Let it soak for several hours, or until it has wet the soil to a depth of 10-12".
Woodchip mulches around young trees has the multiple benefits of holding soil moisture, reducing soil temperature and reducing weed growth.
What evergreen trees can I plant that grow well here?
For a long time, we planted pines as our evergreen of choice. However, pine wilt has caused pine trees to be poor choices in general. Here is a list of other evergreen trees that may fit your needs.
Where can I order trees for windbreaks?
Windbreak trees for conservation plantings are available for purchase through the Kansas Forest Service/K-State Research and Extension. These are available for planting field windbreaks to protect rural properties from winter winds and soil erosion. You can order these trees online.
Can Elms Shade our Streets Once Again?
A most definite, YES. K-State is participating in a national elm trial and their research shows some great elms for our community landscapes. The cultivars doing best in K-State's John C. Pair Horticulture Center trial includes 'Allee' Lacebark Elim, 'Danada Charm', 'New Harmony', 'New Horizon', 'Morton
Accolade', and 'Princeton' American Elm.
'Princeton' American Elm